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Papers of the Week

Papers: 28 Oct 2023 - 3 Nov 2023

2023 Nov 01



HK2 in microglia and macrophages contribute to the development of neuropathic pain.


Wang S, Jiang C, Cao K, Li R, Gao Z, Wang Y


Neuropathic pain is a complex pain condition accompanied by prominent neuroinflammation involving activation of both central and peripheral immune cells. Metabolic switch to glycolysis is an important feature of activated immune cells. Hexokinase 2 (HK2), a key glycolytic enzyme enriched in microglia, has recently been shown important in regulating microglial functions. Whether and how HK2 is involved in neuropathic pain-related neuroinflammation remains unknown. Using a HK2-tdTomato reporter line, we found that HK2 was prominently elevated in spinal microglia. Pharmacological inhibition of HK2 effectively alleviated nerve injury-induced acute mechanical pain. However, selective ablation of Hk2 in microglia reduced microgliosis in the spinal dorsal horn (SDH) with little analgesic effects. Further analyses showed that nerve injury also significantly induced HK2 expression in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) macrophages. Deletion of Hk2 in myeloid cells, including both DRG macrophages and spinal microglia, led to the alleviation of mechanical pain during the first week after injury, along with attenuated microgliosis in the ipsilateral SDH, macrophage proliferation in DRGs, and suppressed inflammatory responses in DRGs. These data suggest that HK2 plays an important role in regulating neuropathic pain-related immune cell responses at acute phase and that HK2 contributes to neuropathic pain onset primarily through peripheral monocytes and DRG macrophages rather than spinal microglia.